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Progressive group sues Schuette for e-mails

James F Clay
flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A left-leaning group has filed a lawsuit to find out how often Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and his aides used private e-mail accounts to discuss public business.

The group Progress Michigan filed the lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Claims. That’s after the Republican attorney general refused a request for private e-mails, saying the messages don’t exist. But Progress Michigan says it has two dozen such messages in hand that it acquired through other channels. 

“For the attorney general to come back and say they don’t exist and don’t possess them is simply not true,” says Progress Michigan attorney Mark Brewer.

Brewer says the attorney general should turn over private e-mails used for public business, or explain why they weren’t saved.

Sam Inglot of Progress Michigan says public officials can’t use private accounts to skirt the Freedom of Information Act.

“If they’re going to do that, they’ve essentially created a public document,” he says.

The lawsuit asks the court of Claims to say private e-mails used by public officials to conduct public business should be subject to open records laws.

Schuette’s press secretary says the lawsuit is being reviewed.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.